Posted on December 31, 2012 in The Home Front by Jay14 Comments »


Who can tell me which hilariously funny TV sitcom that quote is from, and who said it? 

Here it is again:

‘If you can eat this cheese without farting, you can sleep with my sister’

I’ll give you a clue: we always seem to discover TV shows years later than anyone else, and we’ve just started watching this one. Actually we’re part-way through series one, and I think it’s on series six now, so we have a fair way to go before we catch up.

Beautifully scripted and acted, without a single weak link among all the main characters, this show is a situation comedy with a difference. It exploits the comic potential of a friendship between a group of people from a section of society representing about 2% of the population … plus one other. The ‘one other’ is a 98-percenter – a ‘normal’ person. It’s witty, it’s clever, and the comic timing is impeccable. You may not, in fact, like it, but I love it. So there!

It’s a rare thing that a sitcom will produce belly laughs in this house, but this one will do it. No matter what mood I’m in, it’s guaranteed to make me laugh out loud enough to miss the next bit. I like that in a TV series! Laughter is important.

Interestingly, a little while before we began watching this series, my doctor was once again a tad concerned about my blood pressure, which was something over 91. Fortunately, he is not the sort to hand out pills like sweets, and he said we’d see what it was like next time. This is usually a cue for me to go home and tell OH he has to monitor my blood pressure for me regularly for a while, because I suffer from White Coat Syndrome.  Show me a sphygmomanometer and my blood pressure shoots up about twenty points.  In fact, just mention the words ‘blood pressure’ and it will shoot up.  At first, my blood pressure will even shoot up when it’s taken at home, in a relaxed and non-threatening environment, but after a week of twice daily readings it settles down to a much more acceptable level.

OH took my BP a few minutes ago and it was 122/74, which I believe is pretty damn good. In fact, in the last few weeks the diastolic reading has hit 90 perhaps twice or three times, most readings being between the low seventies and mid eighties and I’m enormously happy about that!

Maybe it’s all the laughter.

Oh .. you want to know what show that quote is from, and who said it?

Go here!

And by the way …


Posted on December 30, 2012 in Hounds, The Home Front by Jay13 Comments »


Last night, our invalid Sid decided that he could walk.  It was quite a surprise, I can tell you!

It went like this: OH decided it was time for his shower and went upstairs, whereupon Sid decided it might be, perhaps (just maybe) time to go out for a pee, and started to raise himself on his front end.  I left him kind of half sitting, and ran to get OH to help me take him out.  We popped his harness on and I grabbed the bath towel we’ve been using to support his back end, and we wheelbarrowed, cajoled and lifted him out into the garden at great risk to our backs, and shoulders, where he stood for ten minutes doing nothing but looking bemused, despite Jeff’s helpful assistance*.

So then we struggled back with Sid, wheelbarrowing, cajoling and lifting till we were back inside the house, where we took off his harness and settled him on his bed.  And OH went back upstairs and I sat down again with a cuppa.

Sid lay still for all of ten minutes before heaving himself to his feet and swaying dangerously.  I leapt up to grab him and put his harness back on while yelling to OH, which was completely futile because he is deaf and had shut at least two doors between us, and had probably also taken out his hearing aids because digital devices of that sort don’t do awfully well in a deluge.

So, I staggered out with Sid to the garden all by myself. Not good news for my still-not-repaired rotator cuff injury, or my lower back, or my neck, but we did it.  We arrived at the nearest patch of lawn and I arranged the towel sling so he could pee.

And he did not.

OH arrived in a hurry and his pyjamas, having glanced out of the bedroom window between shaving and actually getting in the shower to see the garden lighting on and me, out there on my own with Sid.  We got him back inside and we settled him down again, leaving his harness on this time, which was fortunate as it turned out.

OH went back up to continue his interrupted shower.

When he came down again, Sid got up again.

This time, he stood quite steadily, and OH started towards him to help, when Sid suddenly took off and tried to run straight between his legs.  Now, what some of you may not know is that Sid is a 33kg greyhound standing about 28 or 29 inches at the shoulder, and OH has an inside leg measurement a little bit less than that, and it was a miracle he didn’t get tossed aside like a pensioner at the Boxing Day sales

‘Aaaaaaah!’ sang OH, tottering on one leg at a dangerous angle.

Sid snorted and made for the back door with me in pursuit, just about hanging onto that harness.  I got the door open and he negotiated the two threshholds, and the stone step plus the 90 degree angle turn onto the patio with no hesitation at all and set off up the garden.  I lost my grip on the harness.  Visions of one large three legged greyhound charging off, slipping on the mud and breaking something loomed large in my imagination, but in fact he seemed to want the security of me there and he waited for me to grab it again.

So there you go.  He hopped neatly all the way up the garden and peed a lake, then wanted to run back in.  Run.  The old fraud.

Seriously, he is still unsteady on that leg, and it does still hurt and get tired very easily. But it makes you wonder if he thought we wanted to carry him around in a blanket and he was just … well, cooperating!

I guess we don’t have to worry about what happens when he needs to poop, now, huh?

Seems as if he might manage just fine.

UPDATE: We have poop. YAY!!!!

Yeah, I do know how sad that sounds.  But trust me, getting excited about poop is fairly run-of-the-mill among greyhound owners, particularly since they are large dogs and tend to run a little to the loose side.  Sorry if that visual spoils your dinner, but you really should know better than to eat while reading The Depp Effect, by now, shouldn’t you?

* Assistance = doing things like sniffing his dangly bits, running rings round him, standing directly in his path, and wandering off to do a perfect demonstration of what Sid should have been doing, before coming back to get under our feet again.

Posted on December 29, 2012 in Hounds, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay10 Comments »

The bad news is that Sid has done the unthinkable: he’s hurt his single back leg, and now he won’t bear any weight on it.

He has spent the last two days lying in one spot, occasionally sucking down water brought to him in a silver stainless steel dish by one of his servants (usually me), refusing food, and resisting all attempts to encourage him to stand.

The first day he was clearly in a huge amount of pain. There was a lot of panting, wrinkling of brows, and shaking like a leaf.

To go back a step, he got himself under our recliners while we were both watching TV – his bum under OH’s footrest and his head under mine.  This meant that neither of us could get up without hurting him, and quite possibly taking out a kidney.  OH thought that, since I had the head, it would be better for him to try gently lowering his footrest first.  Sadly, it stuck a bit and then jerked and hit Sid on the leg, which made him jump.  This brought his head out from under me and I got down and pulled him clear of OH’s chair. All seemed fine, and he went for his walk as usual.

Next morning, it became clear that all was not fine.

When I got up, he’d vomited copiously, and also pooped on the mat by the back door.  He was now lying where he would stay for the next twelve hours, immobile except for the violent tremors and the panting. Not eating, but drinking large amounts.

The picture up there was taken during that period when he was so thirsty he was actually resting between drinks with his chin propped on the water bowl.  After I took that picture, I removed the bowl to ration him so he wouldn’t throw up again, and moved him to the lounge where it’s warmer.

We took him to the vet, who examined him and said he thought it was that back leg, and that his neck and spine seemed fine.  He couldn’t tell whether his shoulders were giving him trouble as well, because he couldn’t see him walking, but he gave him an intravenous painkiller and sent us home with some tablets of the same.  He said he thought he’d be much improved by ‘midday today’.

He was not.  We went back to the vet today, got another painkilling injection and some different tablets, and we are now pretty sure that it is the hind leg and that it’s muscular. Or ligament. Probably not bone, anyway, which is good.

So now, here he is, back on his bed in the lounge, still not eating much, drinking a lot less because he’s panting hardly at all, and he’s looking a lot more comfortable .. but he’s still not getting up and supporting himself.  He’ll still be in the same position when I get up tomorrow morning, I shouldn’t wonder.

Meanwhile, Jeffie has taken on the role of Helper and Protector.  ‘Helper’ means he dances alongside and in front of us whenever we try to move Sid, thus making our endeavors three times as difficult, and he lies down as close to Sid as he possibly can, either to give him comfort, or to comfort himself, I’m not sure which.

He has also barked ferociously at the front door three times this evening, apparently for nothing.  Well… I say nothing, but in fact the holly wreath which is tied onto the knocker on the front door was swinging around and making the door knocker rattle, because (as OH just informed me) it is ‘chucking it down with wind out there!’.  Jeffie, however, thinks there’s a series of would-be axe-murderers and dog-injurers on the doorstep, taking turns to try to unscrew the hinges on the front door.  In the end I asked OH to take the wreath down.

He went out to do it, and after much muttered swearing and banging about, he came back in and asked:

‘Is this real holly?’

‘Yes!’ I answered.

‘Well, you could have warned me!’, he said.

I did.  I’m 100% sure I told him it was real holly.  I was so pleased to find a real holly wreath with actual berries on it, that I’m pretty sure I told everyone within a two mile radius.  Probably half of Cambridgeshire knows.  Anyway, he took it down, and brought it in and put it on the bottom stair, where it sat, looking festive.

I asked him to move it.

‘If you leave it there, Jeffie will lose an eye’, I said. ‘You know what he’s like.’

I don’t know where the wreath is now, but it’s not on the bottom step.  The thought of even higher vet bills galvanised my poor husband into action.

UPDATE:  Sid has now managed to heave himself to his feet all by himself!  He collapsed halfway through the pee walk, but it’s a start!  Maybe he’ll eat breakfast, too.

Posted on December 27, 2012 in Conversations, Food and Drink, Oddities, The Home Front by Jay11 Comments »

Our Boxing Day lunch is traditionally composed of cold turkey, with pickles, salad and hot mashed potato. The pickles must include onions and pickled red cabbage (Piccallili* optional), and there are alternative dishes for those who don’t like turkey and/or mashed potato, so this year, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, stuffing balls and roast potatoes were also included. Everyone in our family agrees that it is actually a better lunch than the one we have on Christmas Day, and this year, all the family were here; both sons, J and IR, with both their partners, T and B.

Conversation is usually reasonably decorous. This year it was not.

And so, dear readers, I give you fair warning. This post is not for the Easily Shocked.

Anyway. There we were, enjoying our cold turkey and meatloaf and the amazingly wonderful mashed potatoes begun by me and finished by IR and B (the most amazing mashed-potato-makers in the entire universe), and conversation was in full flow, split three ways, as is often the case at these gatherings. Suddenly, one particular thread caught everybody’s attention:

‘ … no, actually, Lidl is worth a visit. I’ve got some pretty good … ‘

‘ … worked three Christmases in a row, now, but next year … ‘

‘ … and then my supervisor broke his ankle tripping over a penis … ‘

All other conversation ceased and heads turned.

Someone said ‘What?’

T: ‘He broke his ankle tripping over a penis. It was on the ground’

B: (Gasp!)

OH: ‘Did she say ‘penis’?’

IR: On the ground? Um, not … attached?’

T: Well, yes. Someone had lost it!’

OH and Me (together): ‘That was careless!’

Someone: ‘Ouch!’

J: ‘Was it like ‘Oh, look, it’s gone! I wonder where I left that?”

B: But … why? I mean … ‘

T: Oh, it was at a party. Everyone had to hold one for the photos. It was really funny. Everyone was passing them around, and they were hanging from the ceiling, and …’

At this point, it began to dawn on us that we were not talking about the Real Thing. But some of us still needed to understand what was going on here.

IR: From the ceiling?

T: Yes! You know those ceiling tiles that you can just push up, and there’s a hole, and you can just – they were hanging from there!’ And they were on the tables, and the floor, and … ‘

Me: But how did he trip over one? And what the heck was it made of? Stone?’

T: (As if it explained everything): ‘It was in a ditch!’

OH: ‘So, how did he trip over it?’

Me: ‘And what was it made of?’

T: ‘It had got lost and he had to go and find it and it was in a ditch, and it was dark, and he fell and broke his ankle’.

(General laughter)

T: ‘And they called the … um .. the … ‘

J: ‘Paramedics’

T: ‘ … the paramedics, and they took him to the hospital and he insisted on taking it in the ambulance with him’

Me: ‘Ha! I can imagine him riding along on the stretcher with it clutched to his chest!’

B: (Who works in hospitals and sometimes A&E): ‘It must have been hilarious when he got to the hospital!’

J: ”And how did you break your ankle, exactly?”

IR: ‘ … ‘Funny you should ask that … !”

Me (persistent to the last): ‘But what was it made of?’

All eyes turned to T.

(Slight pause)

T: ‘It was a plush-y one. With glitter.’

I’d kind of like to complete the visual for you, but I never did get around to asking her what size it was, and what colour. In my mind, however, it’s about eighteen inches long, and purple.

DISCLAIMER: As this happened yesterday amid much hilarity, and the conversation was rapid with several people talking at once some of the time, as tends to happen in these situations, it is possible that I have not transcribed the conversation verbatim. I have certainly forgotten some parts and therefore failed to include them. I may even have mis-attributed a couple of things (and if this is so, apologies to those parties concerned) but you have the gist, dear readers, you have the gist.

*Piccallili is a mustard pickle of various vegetables, which always include cauliflower and marrow. For some reason, despite the fact that OH hates cauliflower and marrow and isn’t very fond of mustard, it appears to be essential for Boxing Day lunch, after which the hardly used jar sits in the fridge until it grows mould and has to be thrown away (usually around the following September). He and IR were very disappointed this year that we didn’t have any, and an arrangement was reached whereby next year we’d buy a jar, then donate what was left to IR to take home with him so as not to waste it.

Nobody else likes Piccallili – nobody in the world. I have no idea why so many jars are manufactured and sold.